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A vakieti of war-cries is peculiar to Gaelic countries, because the Gaelic races always fought in 
clans, and not as an homologous army. For the same reason the Irish had not a national cry. 
The distinction in this respect between tribes led by independent chiefs and a nation governed by a 
monarch is observable in the statute, 10th Henry VIII. cap. 38, forbidding all men in Ireland to 
range themselves in factions or use words such as Crom-alu and Butler-abu, and desiring them 
" to call only on St. George, or on the name of their sovereign lord, the King of England." To the 
Englishry the King's name was a tower of strength, and gave them that feudal unison which 
enabled their puny phalanx to break and shatter any array of Gaelic clans. From the time when 
Heber and Heremon set up two kingdoms in one island, till medieval ages, when rivals ior 
a chieftaincy often parted the empire, Irishmen were divided against each other, down to and even in 
their dire national extremity of 1645, when " that antient and everlasting difference between" 
Leth-Con, * or Con's half, and Leth-Mogha, or Mogha's half, prevented the southerns and northerns 
from joining under Owen Roe O'Neill ; so that the words of Tacitus, dum singuli pugnant wiwerei 
wneuntur, were ever applicable. Caesar observed there were factions in all parts of Gaul, extending 
even into every family. Broad and distinct interests in Ireland were known by the tribe-name and 
war-cry of each great sept or " nation," whose district was their patria, and the representative of their 
patriarch their king. In the Highlands of Scotland the isolation of race was still more marked ; for 
there, as has been expressed in verse : — 

" mountains interposed 

Made enemies of nations, who had else, 

Like kindred drops, been mingled into one." 
Although the Irish had not a national cry, two exclamations in battle were in general use. 
One of these was noticed by Spenser, who wrote : — " In all their encounters they use one very common 
word, crying — Ferragh, Ferragh !" by which he fancied they invoked Fergus, a deceased King of 
Scots : but which may have been, like the English " bows and bills !'' a call for more men — Feara ! or 
moreprobably an admonition to those about them to takecare, Faire! — like the French" Gare-a-vous I" 
The other exclamation, TJboo I was universally used in Ireland, so much so as to be called " the 
Irish cry :" but as this shout was also used by the "Welsh, and had neither meaning as a word nor 
federal signification as a slogan, it cannot be called a national cry. The " Irish cries" noticed by 

•Desid. Curiosa. Hib. it, 439. 


Derrick b in his " Image of Ireland," a doggerel poem in which many belligerent circumstances are 
accurately described, are boh-bowe ! and lullalo ! Amalgamated they formed the first word of 
lillibo-lero, the refrain of a ballad that did William III. as good service as the battle of the Boyne. 
The latter cry, variously aleleu, &c, (the origin oihilloa! and hullabaloo)! is analogous to the 
onset cry of the Greeks, i\i\tv,° and to the shout of Alia illi Alia * — or the Lelie ! — well known 
to crusaders, and " the Lelies yell'" of the Spanish Moors, many of whose Asiatic characteristics, their 
" Morris" pike, dance, &c, lingered among the Milesian Irish. Spenser compared " the terrible yell" 
with which the Scythians fell upon the foe to " the Irish Hubub which their kerne use at their 
first encounter." He also somewhat discordantly introduced this Celtio sound of war into the " Faerie 
Queen :" — 

" Now when amidst the thickest woods they were, 

They heard a noyse of many bag-pipes shrill, 

And shrieking hububs them approaching nere 

Which all the forest did with horrour fill." 
The particular vociferation was " Hub-bob-boo,"' and is said to be derived from the Gaelic word bub, a 
yell. Etymologieally considered, it is as meaningless as the English cheer Hurrah I — yet practically 
full of meaning, being the war-wboop used to terrify at the instant of assault. Hence we now have 
bogh ! and bug-aboo ! Although meanings are assigned to aboo, the invariable termination of every 
Irish war-cry, it may be believed that it was merely the general shout — uboo — added to the 
clan one to give force. When shouted throughout a country, the " hubub" was also an oral signal 
of danger. In Wales " when anything happens, a person goes to an eminence and there cries the 
Hoo-boub ; those who hear it do the same, and the country is speedily in arms." 8 

The word slogan, the Lowland Scot's term for the Highland cath-ghairm or battle-call, derives from 
slmgh-ghairm, the hosting-call ; and though it does not appear to have been in use in Ireland to do- 
note the shout in battle, — gairm sluaigh, as the call to a clan to form a host, was of frequent use • 
and, as to obey it was the first duty of clansmen, it stands as such foremost on an old list h of their 
" rents and duties" to the chieftain ; for he fined any " able man" roundly who failed to " rise" at 
the call and join the standard — defence being of all objects the most important. Thus, in 1529, 
Finglas advised that every Palesman should be fined who did not " answer the cry in his most de- 
fensible array." To continue our tentative etymology — Siol and Sliocht, pronounced Slught, a progeny, 
seem the roots of Sluagh, as implying the men of a clan. Ritson in his " Caledonians," terms the 
" war-cry or insigne patrium" of the ancient Scots, (Albanaich !) their " national slughorn ;" and the 

b Dedicated to Sir Philip Sidney, who in a letter to •" Vision of Roderick." 
Queen Elizabeth alludes to another species of Irish cry, ' " The Irish Hudibras." 1689. 

the Keen. [Collim, 1.1 slogan's " Scottish Gael." i., 141. 

c Harris's Ware, ii., 164. t Carew MS., 625, " Duties and Rentes to the Earl of 

<i Do. p. 17. Claacare." 


slogan was often a patronymic derived from the patriarch from whom the country it roused -was 
named. Shilelagh-alo ! — the call of the O'Byrnes, may have obtained from a tribe-name of those 
who were the siol of " Olioll of the wood," and from whom the celebrated wood received its name. 
In Scotland the gathering word was less frequently generic than the name of some rendezvous in the 
district; as with the W>¥arlaaes, Loch Sliocht ! — "lake of the host." Tulach-ard I the high hill was 
the slogan of the Mackenzies, 1 whose crest is a hill with "the warning flame" on its summit 
being the beacon whence their country was apprised of danger. But as such a telegraph would not 
always be visible in a land of mist, the usual mode of summons was by sendingroundthe Fiery Cross 
a Scandinavian practice, fully described by Olaus Magnus in his History of the Goths, his account, as 
translated, closing with this passage : — " The first messenger tells it to the next village, and that to 
the next ; and so the hubub runs all over till they all know it in that stift or territory, where, when, 
and wherefore they must meet." Thus the call to the " hosting" became the shout of the host as they 
came towards the place shouted out to them as the tryst, whither the faithful clansmen assembled : — 
" What time aloft their kindred banner flew, 
Whilo clamorous war-pipes yell'd the gathering sound, 
And while the Fiery Cross glanced, like a meteor, round." k 
The mode of summoning the fighting men of a country by sending round an ostensible token is not 
known to have prevailed in Ireland, the usual methods of alarm having been " to raise the uloo," or 
cry of danger ; and, in mountainous regions, to set fire to heaps of peat and heather, the flame of 
which by night and the smoke by day were visible enough. In the level districts inhabited by the 
Englishry their castles were so many signalling-towers. At one period during the war with Shane 
O'Neill, when a descent of foreign invaders was apprehended, Lord Sussex ordered "watches and 
beacons to be set upon the sea-coast," and also in parts of the Pale, on account of " the boddrayes 
(border ravages) with O'Reilly." ' 

The gairm sluaigh, which was at first, as has been seen, a vocative, became, as the contest began, 
the slogan, insignium, sign, or vocal banner of each side, and to shout it was the signal of onset. 
When Randolph and his Scots surprised the Irish forces in the forest near Connor, they : — 
" Ruschyt on thaim with waponys bar, 
And thair ensenyis hey gan cry."™ 
Besides an oral ensign, every clan had a visible one in the standard round which it rallied. The 
distinguished office of bearing the colours was hereditary. O'Hanlon of Orior, in Armagh, and 
O'Mulloy of Fear-call in the Queen's County, appear in early ages to have jointly held the standard- 

i The Mackenzies are said to derive from the Geral- descended from the house of Kildare," who was about 

dines, as alluded to in the ** Farewell to Mackenzie'' in to visit him. 

styling the Chief of Kintail a " son of Fitz-Gerald," and v " The Lady of the Lake," canto iii. 

possibly borne out by a letter in the S. P. O., dated 1 Oth i Red Council Rook, Add. M S„ 4,790. 

May, 1593, from the Earl of Kildare, desiring a pass- m Barbour's Bruce, Buke xiv., line 436. 

port " for a Scottish lord called the Lord of Kilhilty, 

VOL. III. D 2 


bearership to the monarchs of Ireland ; and, id consequence, their representatives in the 16th century 
were entrusted with the responsible oustody of the royal banner in the Irish wars. When Lord 
Deputy Russell inarched against the Earl of Tyrone in 1595, O'Hanlon 11 and Hugh O'Mulloy 
carried the Queen's standard before him on alternate days." The present hereditary standard-bearer to 
the crown in Ireland is the Duke of Wellington, whose father carried the flag of England far and 
triumphantly. The office descended of him from a Norman to whom in 1210 the manor of Dangau 
was granted by Walter Lacy, an ancestor of the royal family, to hold by the tenure of carrying the 
Lord of Meath's banner. Other ancient Anglo-Irish barons also had their hereditary ensign-bearers. 
The name of the lords Fleming of Slane's functionary was Mac- Alpine, Anglice" " Halfepennie," p 
The MacCaffrys were banner-men to O'Neill of Tyrone, according to the list of the retinue that 
went to England with Shane-an-Diomais, who even took his standard-bearer with him to London.' 
As early as the 11th century, O'Plaherty,' and in 1538, Cahir Kavanagh," when tanist to Mac- 
Murrough, had similar officers. 

The war-cries of the great Anglo-Irish families and Gaelic clans of Ireland, the Butlers and Ger- 
aldines, O'Neills and O'Briens, are famous to the present day: but those of less distin- 
guished families and septs, have died away with the brave men who once shouted them. 
Some few are still known by the list published in Harris's edition of Ware's "Antiquities;" 
yet the catalogue is a meagre one, for although there were some sixty countries in Ireland, 
each inhabited by a separate Gaelic tribe, besides the large districts held by Anglo-Irish lords, the 
list only contains a quarter of that number of war-cries ; — while it cannot be doubted that all the Gaelic 
septs, who, though on the same side, fought each other like game-cocks, were compelled to use distin- 
guishing words in days and battles in which the oombatants wore a uniform or dress of similar make and 
colour. Distinctiveness was absolutely required, and this, which the Picts secured bv colouring them- 
selves, and modern soldiers obtain by red coats, the Gaels possessed in their cries. Even the soldiery of 
the crown seem to have been undiscriminable until 1579, when the English and Irish horsemen were 
ordered to " provide themselves with two red crosses of silk or cloth, one fastened on the breast, and 
the other on the back, 8 inches long and If broad.'" Red was already the national colour of England, 
apparently adopted by the soldiers of the Border" to distinguish them from the Scots ; and although 
O'Sullivan claims a victory for O'Neill, in 1567, called cath na g-cassog dearg, it would seem the 
first "red coats" came from Berwick," in 1579. The Irish septs had no peculiar tartans 
such as are ascribed to each Scottish clan; nor, so far as is known, had they "badges" of heather, 

» O'Hanlon is styled " Her Majesty's standard-bearer « Stow MS., quoted in Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy 

for Ulster" in the Journal of this expedition in the ii.> 158. 
S.P.O. O'Sullivan states he claimed the office north of *"IarConnaught,"p. 369. 
the Boyne. Tom. 3, lib. 3, e. I, p. 138. 'Printed S. P. iii„ 49. 

o Journal, Add. MS-, 4,728. Carew MS. 597, Sir ~W. Pelham's Journal. 

p Holinshed, iv., 310. « Scott's Provincial Antiq., p. 419. 

" Mageoghegan, 459, 472. 


&c, such as are assumed ia the Highlands ; so that there was no ocular difference between one 
militant and another ; for, although without a national cry, the Irish had a national dress, the shirt 
to which they stripped for hattle. This linen shirt was the sole garment in which the Welsh 
fought at Bannockburn." The Irish stained it a yellow hue, and it formed the genera] 
fighting costume of the kerne." Their targets or round shields were " coloured," as Spenser 
observed, " after their rude fashion ;" a decoration that does not seem to have included generic 
emblems. Even their leaders did not carry strong marks of identification in battle, such 
as the armorial cognizance emblazoned on the coat worn over armour, or the lofty crest y and showy 
plume that marked the course of the feudal champion ; nor indeed were such tokens needed in their 
petty country skirmishes, in which the bratach or pennon of the chieftain and his gallant bear- 
ing were sufficient to indicate his presence. Their encounters in general were little more than 
affrays between dwellers on two sides of a hill, arising from incursions in which neighbours met 
who resembled each other and were only distinguishable by their clan-word. There was one and 
only one time, prior to the 17th century, at which hostile clans joined to throw off the English 
yoke, when " 20,000 fighting men of the furious and warlike nation of the Irish" 2 were in arms, 
and O'Neill and O'Donnell encamped near Kinsale : but the tents of the loaders were so many 
hollow factions, and all the war-cries of their septs proved weaker than the single shout of the 
English army. These watch- words of rebellion have disappeared; all men now obeying the statute. 
?et archEeologists must wish this vacuum of sounds of wars long silenced were not so complete ; 
or at least, as every brave old clan still lives with them, must desire to know such stirring memorials 
as their slogans. This desideratum is partly supplied by the ensuing list : but only in part, though 
written, as it was, during " Tyrone's war," when all the clans both of the Irishry and Englishry, 
whether rebel or loyal, were battling, and when their cris dc guene resounded. This list is 
a note (at p. 750) of the MS. referred to in a previous paper (on Gaelic Domestic?) 
as having belonged to Meredith Hanmer, D.D., for whom it was probably made out by 
an Anglo-Irish officer then in military service ; but whoever the compiler was, he might with a 
little more pains have made the catalogue completer; — certainly were he a veteran many more 
war-shouts than are enumerated must have rung in his ears. 


Butter-abo, - Ormond. Shanytt-aboe, ... Desmond. 

Crom-abo, ... - KJldare. Gallriagh aboe.» - - - Olanrickarde. 

» Barbour's Bruce, Buke, xiii., line 422. volume is crestless. 

* S. P. "., 444. "Moryson, i., 353. 

y M c Murrough's helmet as engraved at page 55 of this 'Slash, contracted from riabhach, is swarthy: but 


(Blank)b . . . 

• Thomond. 

Cloghechy-aboe.i - 

- (illegible.) 

Lagh-yarg-aboe, - 

- Tyrone. 

Rochestagh-aboe, 1 - 

- Roche 

Kero-lader-aboe, - 

- Upper Ossory. 


- Barry. 

Gonlan-aboe, d 

- O'More. 

Barnearegan-aboe, m 

- Shane. 


- O'Connor. 


- County of Louth. 

Choyk-aboe, e 

- O'Carroll. 


- Banlon. 

Kinshelagh-aboe, - 

- Cavanaghs. 


- Dowles of Arcklow.p 


- Byrnes. 

Fynsheog-aboe, q 

- Delrin. 

Fernock-aboe, f 

- Tooles. 


- Makena-Trough. 


- Shortall. 

Poer-aboe, - 

- Baltynglas. 


- Le Poer. 


- Magennis. 

Greraldagh-aboe, h - 

- Decies. 

Then follows a hiatus deflendusy opposite to which are the names of " Macguyre, O'Rourke, the 
O'Farralls, O'Keylie, M«Mahon, Clancarties." 

The authenticity of the foregoing list cannot he questioned, being borne out by collateral testi- 
mony, some of which serves to prove the antiquity of a few of these war-cries. The following super- 
stitious allusion to the battle-word of the brave clan O'Toole occurs in Grace's annals sub anno 1316. 
" The Irish of Imayle," the glen of Imale in Wicklow, " attacked Tullow, and lost 400 men, whose 
heads were brought to Dublin ; marvellous things occurred, the dead rose again and fought with one 
another, shouting their cry after their fashion, ' Fennok-abo." ' There is another casual notice of 

Gall-riagh is sometimes given Gall-ruadh, [Stewart's 
Armagh, p. 212] and said to be the Red Foreigner, from 
the Iarla-ruadh, or red earl, the celebrated general, 
Richard, Earl of Ulster. 

h Lamh~laidir-aboo ! the strong hand aboo! (for this last 
word is untranslatable) was the shout of the O'Briens. 

c Gear-laidir-aboo ! the sharp and strong, was the cry 
of the MacGilla Patricks. 

d Conlan is mentioned in the printed Inquisitions as 
the name of a place in the Queen s county. 

• " Showoc" in the list in the T.C.D. MS.» from Seabhac> 
pronounced Showac, a hawk. 

f Fir or Feara~cnmc ! the men of the hill. But in the 
ancient legal record mentioned in the text, and also in 
Grace's annals, the versions are Fennock and Fennok. 
The latter word signifies a crow. The former designa- 
tion would, however, be an apt one for the brave Clan- 
Tuathail, who dwelt among the hills of Northern Wick- 

4 Pucan signifies a sack or pouch ; in allusion, perhaps 
to an armorial bearing. The Shortalls were Anglo- 
Irish barons. 

h Lord Decies was a Geraldagh or Geraldine, as 
spruug from Gerald, brother of the 8th Desmond. 

'Eochy's stone. The chieftains of the Hy-Cinnsiolaigh 
were inaugurated at Leac M c Keogh, [ Hy- Fiachrach, 434] 
and this rock, as the title-deed of their country, may 
have been their rendezvous and slogan. It may also be 
conjectured that the assumption of Oeann-Siolagh aboo ! 
by the Kavanaghs imported that they were the Ceann siol, 
or senior race. 

k Roisteach, the Roches' house or country. {Four 

Masters, anno 1582.] 

iBarragh, Le. a man of the Barrys, 

m Perhaps a bearna baoghail, or pass of danger, well 
known as leading into Lord Fleming of Slaue's country 
and which this slogan called all to defend. 

n Ard-chotll, high wood, or Ard-eoille, the height of 
the wood. 

o Probably a mill or wood. 

p The Doyles were Mac-Dowells, and, like most of our 
sea-coast inhabitants, of Danish extraction. 

i Fgnskeog, the ash-tree. Devlin is the baronial title 
of Nugent, Marquis of Westmeath. 

r Ceirtle bharraigh, the ball of tow yarn, ceirtle being a 
clue or ball of yarn. The clan may have worn a small 
wind of tow as a badge ; just as a bunch of heather or 
a wisp of hay or straw was sometimes fastened to 
helmets during the Civil War to prevent confusion of 
sides. The Anglo-Saxon word eyrtd and the Swedish 
kiortel probably have the same root as the Latin curtus 
and the English skirt; but kirtle, as a man's or a 
woman's robe or tunic, is supposed [Richardson's Dic- 
tionary] to derive from having been fastened with a 
girt or girdle, In 1537 it was recommended " to cause 
women to use kertelles after an Englyshe fashion, setting 
away saffren shyrtes and smokes ; and no sylke to be on 
their kyrtelles.*' It may have been that the Saxonry of 
the Pale, whose doublets would be of cloth, had derided 
the girded linen shirt that formed the Irish male garb 
by calling it a woman's *' kirtle of tow," and that the 
Clan-Kenna adopted this sobriquet to retort on their 
foes in battle. 

*Sean-bhodach, the old churl. Perhaps, as the preceding 


this cry in a legal record, 5th Edward II., of the indictment of Walter Penrys, William and 
Henry le Bret, and other men — " quod ipsi noctanter venerunt ad vil' de Hugerton, et invadens vil' 
riotose, clamavernnt magna voce Fennock-abo ! Fennock-aho ! quod est signum de O'Tothils et per 
hujusmodi clameam malitiose fecerunt omnes homines et feminse ejusdem vil' fugere extra domos 
suos, et hoc facto robiaverunt in predict' vil' quatuor gallinas et octo pullinos, pretii sex denar." 

There is evidence also as to the antiquity of the war-cries of the Geraldines, both of Munster and 
Leinster, in the names of the localities which were their gathering words. Slianet-aboo, that of the 
Desmonians, summoned them to Sean-ait, i. e. the old place, in the county Limerick, by nature one 
of the strongest places in the west, where a castle stood which in Elizabeth's time was known as 
i: Desmond's first and most antient howse.'" Crom castle, in the same couoty, was an early acqui- 
sition of the Barons of Ophaly, who although generally residing, when they became earls of Kildare, 
in the Pale, retained the gathering call of their western house. Crom-aboo ! had been shouted 
even in the principal cathedral of the metropolis when James of Ormond and Gerald of Kildare 
were at fierce feud ; and, although denounced by parliament, was the watch-word of Silken Thomas's 
rebellion, when a single family threw off its allegiance, madly braving all the loyal in Ire- 
land and the power of the English crown. Yet still the Earls of Kildare retained their call of power, 
and inscribed it on their castle walls in the determined but reverential form of " Si Dieu plet Crom 
aboo." u The statute forbidding feuds and party-words remained long a dead-letter, while the 
cries of partisans continued lively and loud. During Desmond's revolt, and when mortal 
enmity raged between the Ormonians and the rebellions race against whom the Black Earl of 
Ormond had taken the field, the penman of " A Discourse for the Reformation of Ireland" 
recommended as a desirable measure " that the factions of Butler and Geraldine, with the titles of 
lhmabo and Craghnobo be taken away.'" By this last word Grom-aboo is plainly intended : but the 
first has not been met with elsewhere, the writer probably knowing as little of Irish words of fac- 
tion as of the impossibility of putting them down. The Butlers' clan signal was their own surname, 
of which they were proud as designating the courtly office of their chief ; and they could also boast 
that their cry had never risen on the side of rebellion. Einshelagh-aboo, the tribe -word of the 
Kavanaghs, referred to the men of Hy-Kinshelagh, a clan inhabiting the mountainous woodland 
and plain country of which Sliabh-Lein, or Mount-Leinster, was the centre, and deriving their 
name from Ceinnseallach, their patriarch. There was a subordinate sept specially known as " the 
Kinshelaghs," whose chief was confirmed by Strongbow in the possession of the territory subse- 
quently known by their name at the time he conferred the land round Sliabh-Lein on another 
ally, Donnell Kavanagh. When the invasion of Edward Bruce made " Erin one trembling 

may have been an adopted sobriquet, because it alluded « " Collect, de Kebus Hibern." 

to the seniority of the Magennis race, and was consi- » Stone in Kilka castle, dated 1573. 

dered antiplnastie as to the meaning of churl. v Add. MSS., Brit Mus., 4,763. 


surface of commotion,""' the payment of an annuity of eighty marks from the State treasury com- 
menced to the leader of the Kavanaghs, and was continued to his successors until the year 1541, 
a stipend for loyal service, but in reality as a black-rent. The chief descendant from Dermot na 
Gall was styled Mac Murrough, Ri Laighean, by his numerous adherents, and was the sole recipient, 
among all the native princes, of a tuarasdal or cios dubh from the exchequer of the Si Sacsan, any 
delay in the receipt of which serviceable subsidy he was accustomed to resent by making Geinnseal- 
lagh-aboo ! heard far and wide in the Pale. The Kavanaghs — " a race renowned of old, whose 
war-cry oft had waked the battle-swell," — are described as, when assailing Richard II. and his army, 
raising " crys and clamours that moght have been heard a good league off." * 

Some five slogans not mentioned in the above list are given in a MS. in Trinity College library 
marked F. 1. 21, namely, — for Fitz-Maurice, "Lawn, laugher abowe," or lamh-laidir, the strong hand, 
which was also the battle-cry of the O'Briens and McCarthys, 1 and as such must have caused extra- 
ordinary confusioawhenever these three great southern clans met in war. Forthe O'Sullivans, "Fustina 
stelly abowe ;" and "Laurie yarge" (dhearg) for the " Clan-Shigall," viz., the Mac Sheehy's galls, 
or galloglasses, of whom those under O'Neill, whose word they adopted, were employed by 
Tyrone during his war as stout and trusty envoys, under the title of "the Clanshies," to the 
chieftains of Munster whom he desired " to stir into rebellion." z For the McSwynes, also gal- 
lowlasses — " Battailah-abwve," said to allude to their battle-axe, but rather to their band as " battle- 
men" forming the main body, known as " the battle" of an army. The last war-cry in the MS. is 
that of the Knight of Kerry's men, who did not " call upon" their captain's name, (as Spenser would 
have it,) but shouted for themselves as "Farre-buoy-ahowe" — the yellowmen ; allusive perhaps to their 
shirts, of the amplitude and saffron-colour of which they may have been proud — linen and saffron 
being costly. Before the kerne of " the nation of Poers" sailed for Boulogne in 1544, each was given 
40s., " to buy him silk and safferne."* Colours were distinctions from the early ages of the men of 
the Red Branch, and " the warriors of the saffron hue :" — and that the possession of full and richly- 
dyed tunics distinguished this Geraldine clan does Dot militate against the theory that the shirt had 
become the general principal garment. The " Keartle-Varry" of the clan-Kenna may either have 
designated, as in the present day, a clue of tow yarn, used as a badge of the Trough, a district 
perhaps noted for linen ; or possibly implied a kirtle, or shirt of coarse yarn, whence the clan may 
have received a sobriquet from the Saxonry ; or else was their antiphrastic nom de guerre for their 
" fine linen shirts," the leinte cael troill celebrated by the bard of the " Battle of Down" as the sole 
clothing of the race of Conn of the Hundred Battles. The fulness of this robe with the wealthy, and 
its dye as worn by the chief of the Englishry of Munster, are shown by Campion's remark that " the 

" Hy-Many, p. 137. * Russell's Journal, Add. MS, 4,728. 

* Harris's Hibernica, p. 24. . S. P. O. 

* Harris's Ware. 


rich think 30 yards of linen little" for one ; and also by the Lord Deputy's in 1544, that the White 
Knight and Lord Boche, who could not agree in a country forty miles in length between them were 
amicable prisoners together in Dublin castle, and apparelled " in their saffron shurtes and kernoghe's 

Spenser says that the Irish, besides shouting Ferragh! used, "in joining battle, to call upon their 
captain's name, or the word of his ancestors : as they under O'Neill cry Launderg-abo, that is, the 
bloody hand, which is O'Neills badge." But the second statement was to support the first, that 
Fenagh is the name of a man, and is not only unsupported, but contrary to every known homony- 
mic cry, which, as a sluagli-ghairm, collectively and cognominally summoned the men of the name 
each of whom, when the battle began, proclaimed his name as a man of that clan. Even the Nor- 
man septs called their tribe, not their lord's name. Thus the men of whom the chief was Viscount 
Baltinglas, whose peculiar surname was Fitz Eustace as descended from Eustace le Poer, shouted 
Poer-abo! — just as the people of Ofaly did not call themselves by their chiefs name, O'Conor, but 
referred to their remoter descent from King Failghe by Faliaghe-abo I The Eoghanaehs, whose 
chief had the modern title of O'Neill, called neither on his name nor their own ; and although 
their gathering call has become a family " motto" and " the bloody hand" an heraldic " coat," this 
" terrible cognizance" and its slogan may have been theirs rather than his, as perhaps invoking them 
to defend their territory by recalling the act of their patriarch in taking possession of it by severing 
his hand and casting it on the shore. This at least is one traditional origin of their slogan ; and 
as tradition and conjecture may be heard on an archaeologic matter in default of evidence, (this or that 
theory, like Spenser's, being liable to be erroneous,) both might in this instance serve to prove the 
general theory of clan community as exemplified in the call to men to fight in defence of a country 
that was theirs, not their captain's. It may be objected that the OBrien's also referred to a hand, b 
which is said to " allude" to a "crest" of an arm bearing a sword ; but probably the war-shout was 
the more ancient of the twain, as being a true vaunt as to the strength the hand of their chieftain 
always had from leading so powerful a clan. The English poet's statement is less consonant with Gaelic 
than feudal usage in old times when the man-at-arms declared his side by his lord'sname as "a Mar- 
mion 1" — the retainers' names being militarily merged in their landlord's under the feudal system, of 
which individual proprietorship is the soul, while communism is the essence of clanship. When- 
over Pobal-Puirsealach" was invaded, the hubub of Puirsealach-aboo ! was raised, and" the able men" 
descended from the Norman lord, Hugh de Parcell, assembled from all parts of a country once his, 
but to which their name as a people had been given : — and even their chieftain simply shouted the 
common name, as when, in 1606, the baron of Loughma was attacked by the sheriff of Tipperary and 

*>0'Donnell also used a hand as an armorial cogni- wolf, and a dexter hand, showing its palm. S. P. II., 472, 
zance, in 1537 ; his seal of that date bearing a lion or ■ Four Masters, p. 1749. 


his band, the baron " raised war " by the cry " Purcellagh-abo !" d and his men soon laid the sheriff 
low for ever. It is also worth notice that the war-words even of the Barons of the Pale -were in 
the Irish tongue, showing the prevalence of the language and the extinction of the ancient English yeo- 
manry, for it would seem that the kerne with whom these lords combatted O'Neill were as Irish as his 
ally, O'Hanlon. The Connaught Gael who fought under De Burgh's banner "shouted as loyally for 
the Gall-rua&h as if he traced his line from Cathal Crovdearg or Conn of the Hundred Battles ; for, as a 
Oonnacian writer of the 14th century observed, "the old chioftains of Erin prospered under the princely 
English lords, who were our chief rulers." * Not only every great family, but even a county the inhabi- 
tants of which were separate in blood from those surrounding them, had its war- word ; — thus Shuyrym* 
aboo ! was the slogan of Louth, a shire possessed by men sprung from some of the highest chivalry of the 
Norman conquerors, the Verdons, Talbots, Berminghams, Gernons, Bellews, Roches, Clintons, 
Plunketts, De Uvedalls, &c, gallant defenders of their lands against inroads both of native Irish and 
invading Soots ; and though a rose fell from their chaplet when they allowed Randolph to 
pass the Thermopylae of their country, the most defensible defile in Ireland, the Moyry 
pass, they gathered laurels on the hill of Eaughard when, under their leading, their hardy yeo- 
manry f gained the decisive action that placed the coronet of Earl of Louth on the general's head, 
and strewed the field of battle with the bodies of many victors of Bannookburu and their ambitious 
leader, Bruce. The men of this county had to stand the brunt of the northern Irish, to 
whom their land was at once a plundering ground and the. nearest road to further plunder ; so that 
their mustering call was a familiar household word in their mouths. 

These cries, which had for many centuries been the alarums of civil war and the gathering 
calls of treason and rebellion, have come by lapse of time to be only known in the innocent form of 
family mottos, merely serving the harmless pride and pomp of heraldry. The O'Briens' "Lamh-laidir, 
the strong hand (the motto indeed of every chieftain) quailed in the South before the Eng- 
lish watch-word, law and order ! and the lanih dhearg — the Red Hand — became the emblem of 
taking possession of and colonizing the North. 

d S. P. O. Examinations, 1607. No. 21, 1. this battle was gained " by the hands of the common 

e Hy-J&any, 136. people." 

fit is said in the Red Book of the Exchequer that